The Stanley Cup Finals and NHL Draft are over and Steelers camp is still a month away. But there is never an offseason in the important field of ranking things. Behold the latest edition of the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings:
The Pirates are 12-12 so far in the month of June and 22-22 since May 10th to remain six games under .500. They are a mediocre baseball team that remains just four games out of first in a mediocre division. They aren’t good and they aren’t bad … and that’s kind of terrible when it comes to knowing how to attack the remainder of the season. With the trade deadline only a month away, should the Pirates deal some young prospects and make a run at a division that is there for the taking? Or should they trade veteran assets to legit World Series contenders to build for 2018 and beyond? You can make a strong case for either one. Same as you can about whether the Pirates will win or lose their next game.
9. The haters
8. Working out at the beach
While I am on vacation at the beach this week — catch you next time, furries! — James Harrison is also on sand and in the sun. But he is decidedly not relaxing. He’s playing some form of volleyball with a medicine ball.
Harrison can expect to be “randomly” drug tested by the NFL again now or at least asked to show a valid beach tag.
7. All-Star voting
Major League Baseball All-Star voting ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. ET. No Pirates are currently anywhere near having enough votes to make the team, but you can still vote five times today and make your voice heard. There’s also an option for write-in voting if you strongly believe that Bernie Sanders could win.
6. Having to punch people in the face
The Penguins acquired enforcer Ryan Reaves from the St. Louis Blues during last week’s NHL draft. Here is Reaves’ highlight reel:
You’ll notice that there is no actual hockey being played in those clips. The Penguins won back-to-back Cups with skill and without the services of someone like Reaves, who has only 27 goals in 419 career games. But GM Jim Rutherford felt his star players need some protection on the ice, and everyone from Rick Tocchet to Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang have endorsed the acquisition.
It’s possible that the Penguins won the trade in getting a player that they need, while the NHL lost the trade in that the league still apparently needs this style of player.
5. Body cameras
All Pittsburgh police officers will wear body cameras by next year. What does this have to do with sports? If last football season on the South Side was any indication, a lot of this footage will eventually end up on ESPN.
4. Pitt basketball
If you’ve had the misfortune of hearing any Pitt basketball news since the team’s season mercifully ended in early March, you probably know that there are hardly any players left on their roster due to graduations and transfers. And while the 2017-18 season is sure to be uglier than a Jamie Dixon NCAA Tournament game, the future beyond next season is looking a little brighter thanks to Kevin Stallings landing one of the program’s highest-rated recruits in years. Pitt basketball: It will at least have basketball players.
3. Mark Recchi
Recchi, the former Penguins forward and current team Director of Player Development, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame this week.
It’s the highest honor in the sport of hockey. But it doesn’t place higher than third in the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings because while Recchi played seven seasons with the Penguins, he played 10 with the Flyers. Sorry, but those are the rules.
2. Andrew McCutchen
The Pirates mediocrity makes them tough to watch every night, but Andrew McCutchen returning to peak form is must-see baseball TV. He’s hitting .376 in June with six home runs. That’s so good that he may be playing himself off the team via trade if the rest of the lineup doesn’t also start producing before the deadline. Enjoy this McCutchen while he is still in Pittsburgh. He is Baseball Fleury.
1. Phil Pritchard
If you want to see what the Penguins are doing with the Stanley Cup this summer, follow the Twitter account of Phil Pritchard, the NHL’s white-gloved Cup handler.
Maybe this week we’ll even be treated to our first picture of the Stanley Cup with a furry (IceBurgh excluded).
Special recognition: John Tumpane
The MLB umpire was walking back from lunch before yesterday’s Pirates game and saw a woman climb over the railing of the Roberto Clemente bridge. His response: “Not on my watch.”
If you only read one story today, this is it. ?
— Pirates (@Pirates) June 29, 2017